Town Council 1/28/19

Committee Name: 

Amherst Town Council

Meeting date: 

Monday, January 28, 2019 - 18:31

Meeting Location: 

Town Room, Town Hall

Members present: 

All

Observer Notes: 

There were 16 items on the agenda, including a 20+ minute executive session when the Council repaired to an adjacent room for a closed door discussion of a pending real property issue for which public discussion would hamper the town’s negotiating position.

Presentations to the board were made by the School Committee Chair (Ordonnez) and Superintendent (Morris) about 1) updating council support for the school’s Fund our Future Resolution and 2) presentation of the school’s preliminary framework for designing a single new elementary school within the Mass School Building Authority (MSBA) collaborative planning process, application due in mid-April. Council unanimously voted support for the former and agreed to cooperate with the school committee to reach the whole town for input to the MSBA process.

Council unanimously approved resolution for Black History Month.

Action Items: 2 hour discussion of the Energy and Climate Action Committee (renamed from Resilience Committee)—composition of the committee and its charge. Councilor Dumont, chair of the committee, had submitted a proposal which was somewhat amended (with the approval of all but Dumont and Schreiber).

Break for Executive Session at 10:30 pm. Observers were invited to stay in empty council chamber. Most everyone left, thinking that the “firm adjournment” at 10 pm would hold. Council did not postpone any of the agenda. Council reconvened around 10:50 pm.†

Appointments to Joint Capital Planning Committee, Budget Coordinating Group, and Participatory Budgeting Commission were announced for the record. Councilor Schoen presented a motion questioning whether the procedure President Griesmer was following in making committee assignments was in the intent of the charter and another process was proposed (to avoid too great a concentration of power in the President and Town Manager.) Schoen’s motion did not pass (all opposed except Schoen and Dumont), but the issue was somewhat clarified.

Minutes of 12/17/18, 1/7/19, 1/8/19, 1/15/19 and 1/17/19 were approved as amended (without discussion).

Brief reports from Rules Ad Hoc committee and Outreach, Communications, and Appointments Committee. Finance Committee report from Councilor Steinberg was distributed prior to the meeting. It essentially recommends funding the temporary bridge on Station Road and gives rationale.

Council Retreat announced for Saturday Feb 2; Public Forum on Station Road

Next Council Meeting Feb 11.

Meeting adjourned at 12: 10 am.

†Note: Observer left at 10:45 pm and watched last hour and 15 minutes on Amherst Mediathe following day.

Public Comment: 

Peter Tripp. He pointed to the poor job Council and Amherst Media were doing in keeping public apprised of all business and allowing reasonable input to the Council. For example, streaming was interrupted for this evening’s meeting and despite being informed, was not restored. (Video was available at the website after the fact.) Further, anyone who attended the school presentation hoping to make a statement would have had to wait 4 hours to do so. (All left before midnight).

League Observer: 

Barbara Pearson